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This article was published 28/4/2017 (1635 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Out of the way, food trucks — there’s a more fashionable retail sensation about to hit the streets of Winnipeg.
It’s called NOMAD and it’s the first "mobile clothing boutique" in the city. Like food trucks, the goal of the business is to bring the product right to the consumer.
For young entrepreneur Eric Olek, who has been working on the truck since 2015, it’s also a way to stand out in the fashion industry.
"It seemed like something crazy to do that might get people talking," Olek, 26, said with a laugh.
After leaving high school, Olek was "mopping floors at the convenience store" for a couple of years before deciding to do something different. He saw a niche in the clothing market for a local "streetwear" brand and has been working on his clothing line, Friday Knights, ever since.
Olek said he got the idea for a mobile clothing store from a visit to Nashville in 2014, where he saw a truck selling women’s clothing parked outside of busy restaurants with long lines. He thought this "experimental" idea was a good way to expand his business.
"It’s innovation in street culture, and that’s kind of what my brand’s about. It’s just growing the culture and the community that’s helped me through a lot of tough times," Olek said.
He first started selling his streetwear line out of the back of his car at hip-hop shows and concerts, so Olek joked it was "serendipitous" to come back to selling out of a truck. But he hopes this kind of endeavour might inspire other people to be creative in their businesses.
The back of the refurbished truck is lined with hangers and shelves for displaying clothes. On the outside of the truck is a mural of a knight wielding a sword — but it won’t stay that way for long.
One of the community connections Olek has planned for his truck is to have a "rotating graffiti mural" on the side of the truck, with new work by local artists to cycle through every month. His hope is the truck will be a mobile art exhibit as well as a clothing store.
"I want (the truck) to be something that people think is unique," Olek said, calling it a "colourful way" to bring something new to the city.
There are barriers to entry into this market, Olek said. The cost of the truck and the time it took to refurbish it and make it street legal are some of the obstacles he had to overcome, so he doesn’t expect other mobile stores to pop up very soon.
For now, Olek is excited to take the truck to festivals and concerts throughout the summer. And he’s happy to see his work on the truck pay off.
"It all boils down to passion. You love what you do and you put the good vibes out there, it all comes full circle," Olek said.
With NOMAD set to open for business this Saturday outside of Little Brown Jug Brewery in the Exchange, Olek said he’s excited to hear what his customers think.
"The business as a whole is already more than just a business," he said. "This truck is just another way for me to get out there and get in touch with people."